Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Short Moment Away

I snuck away from a very busy golf course for a few hours the other day and visited a little bit of bush nearby that DF and I have sometimes checked for odonata and wildflowers. It was nice to be out and about!

I’d just got going and spotted …

… a Blue-winged Parrot way up on top of an old dead spar. Never seen them in this location before and never seen them more than a few feet off the ground. My first surprise.

My next surprise came when I met this guy …

Two more steps and I would have been right on him but he didn’t budge. It was early in the day and I guess he was still warming up. I could tell he was aware of me, but didn’t seem to move a muscle. Even seemed to nod off for a few moments? I was able to get down to his level for some close ups.




How about those claws? I’m glad he didn’t decide to make a run for it over the top of me.

The birds were active in pockets. I’d walk for 5 minutes or more without seeing anything then there’d be a flurry of mixed species working the foliage or dashing from under the shrubbery. I watched one of my favourite aerialists for a time, a group of Dusky Woodswallows, and noticed a couple kept returning to the same tree for a bit. A nest was in attendance of course.

There were Yellow-faced Honeyeaters everywhere and every now and then I caught the 'shirp-shirp' call of the beautiful White-naped Honeyeater too. Eventually one came down low enough and stayed still long enough for an acceptable pic.
I kept getting glimpses or long distance views of a Chestnut-rumped Heathwren – we’d seen one near here before – but couldn’t manage a picture worth publishing. This shy and elusive bird is beginning to become a bit of an obsession for me. They might have been nesting too, for they spent quite a bit of time chasing off other birds from their own patch. Hmmm, wonder how busy the golf course will be tomorrow?

Regards and happy new year,

Saturday, December 3, 2011


G’day Readers,
You may think the title of this post a bit odd for what is basically a blog about birds. Commitment can come in many forms and some we like and some we don’t. The commitment I’m referring to here is one I enjoy thoroughly.

Duncan and I do some regular bird surveys for different bodies. On Friday we were helping Martin from Greening Australia and were surveying a block at Marlay Point close to Lake Wellington and the Clydebank Morass. Martin is ‘re-veging’ the block. (Speaking of commitment – Martin’s level of commitment to the environment is inspiring.)

We began at the lower end of the paddock where there is a small stand of large red gums that are struggling a bit in some cases, but still surviving. It seemed that each tree we came to had its attendant population of hollow-lovers… Tree Martins, Striated Pardalotes, Sacred Kingfishers, Galahs, Sulphur-crested Cockatoos, Crimson Rosellas, etc. We so need those large old trees with their hollows!

Tree Martin
Striated Pardalotes (red spots!)
Sacred Kingfisher
 As we moved toward the now inundated lower country we sprung a nice population of about 30 Latham’s Snipe – first I’ve seen this season I think.

Back out into the re-veg area of the block it was good to tick a pair of Stubble Quail and Richard’s Pipits. A whistling Kite was soaring overhead uttering its distinctive shrill call while Martin and Duncan had their heads down in the Wallaby Grass checking the growth of various species that Martin had seed sown 3-4 months previous.

Richard's Pipit

Afterwards we had a cuppa and ducked around to another site beside the morass that Martin had commenced about 5 years ago – you might like to see the birds we got there by checking Duncan’s blog!

Commitment? Nah, more like a labour of love.